In July, a jury recommended that Smith, 24, be put to death for his involvement in the teacher’s murder.
Prosecutors said during the nine-day trial that Smith, Tyrone Thompson and Jovon Gaston kidnapped the third-grade teacher on April 20, 2011, from his Jacksonville apartment, took him to several ATMs, robbed him of $400 at gunpoint and stabbed him to death with a steak knife.
Brian McVeigh, Calhoun County District Attorney, asked Circuit Judge Brian Howell to consider the jury’s recommendation.
“There is no other sentence justified in this case than death,” McVeigh said.
McVeigh said 29-year-old Kevin Thompson had a promising future, and the teacher was going to make a difference.
“He was the type of person Nicholas Smith needed in his life,” McVeigh said.
Tim Burgess, one of Smith’s three court-appointed attorneys, told the court that Smith’s “chaotic” childhood, which involved physical, sexual and emotional abuse, had a traumatizing impact on Smith.
Burgess told the court that Smith’s only positive role model, his father, died when he was 5 years old.
“Kevin Thompson had a loving, nurturing family. Nick Smith didn’t. I’m not here to make excuses,” Burgess said.
Burgess asked the judge to sentence Smith to life in prison based on his tumultuous upbringing.
Chrisandra Smith, the defendant’s mother, was asked by the defense if there was anything else the court should know about her son before making its decision. The mother spoke mostly of Smith’s father and told the court that she knew his father had prayed a lot for his son.
“He was a good man. Don’t kill that good man’s son,” she said.
Howell asked Smith to stand before the bench with his attorneys and gave the convicted man a chance to address the court. Smith only shook his head.
Howell told Smith while he was sorry for the way he was raised, the judge did not believe Smith showed remorse for his actions.
“I see no other option,” Howell said. “This case clearly calls for the death penalty.”
The judge told Smith he would appoint two new lawyers to work on his appeal.
Smith was shackled and taken out of the courtroom while his mother watched.
Frances Curry, Kevin Thompson’s mother, said she feels justice was served.
“We’re going to fight for our children. They have a right to have a good life. To live a good life and to never have it taken away from them,” Curry said.
Curry questioned why Smith didn’t talk to the people who abused him, instead of killing her son.
“If you have a problem with the people that abused you why do you kill an innocent person?” Curry asked. “It is wrong and I will never agree with it. I’m glad to see that justice has prevailed.”
Tyrone Thompson will be the next defendant to be tried in the case , prosecutors have said. A trial date has yet to be set.
Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.